Indonesia rebuffs claims it issues tourist visas for Israelis

Agung Sampurno, a spokesman for the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, clarifies to Arab News that there is no tourist visa specifically for Israelis. (AN photo)
Updated 07 May 2018
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Indonesia rebuffs claims it issues tourist visas for Israelis

  • Israeli media had claimed that Israelis can apply for the visa through the “Israel Indonesia Agency” and that “talks are under way to let Israelis get their Indonesia visa in Israel.” 
  • Indonesia says the report was “wrong and misleading” and that the only way for Israeli passport holders to secure an Indonesian visa was through the “calling visa” process. 

JAKARTA: The Indonesian government said it was not issuing tourist visas for Israeli passport holders, debunking a report from an Israeli news outlet which claimed that it was accepting applications for tourist visas from Israelis. 

Agung Sampurno, a spokesman for the immigration department of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, told Arab News that there was no tourist visa specifically for Israelis as Indonesia already has a free-visa policy for nationals from 169 countries to enter the country for tourist or leisure purposes.

Israel is not included on the list since Indonesia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

“Our visa policy has not changed in accordance with our foreign policy,” Sampurno said. 

Israeli news portal Haaretz.com reported on Thursday that Israelis could soon see the “gorgeous destinations” that they “could only see in the movies” by applying for a tourist visa to Indonesia beginning on May 1, and the report described the process as “expensive and lengthy.”

According to the report — which did not provide information from the Indonesian authorities — Israelis can apply for the visa through the “Israel Indonesia Agency” and that “talks are under way to let Israelis get their Indonesia visa in Israel.” 

“The news report that said Indonesia was giving out tourist visas to Israel is a hoax,” Sampurno said. 

The agency’s website was still accessible on Friday but was no longer so on Sunday. According to the website, a single-entry visa costs applicants $135, with which they can stay for 30 days, and an extension for another 30 days will cost applicants $35. 

According to the website, “in April 2018, the Ministry of Immigration of the Republic of Indonesia decided to open up a temporary visa quota for Israeli passports to travel to Indonesia under all foreign visa categories to determine the impact and potential of increased bilateral relations between the nations.” 

It also featured pictures of a white sandy beach with turquoise blue water and a destination believed to be Raja Ampat, a cluster of 1,500 jungle-covered small islands known as a divers’ paradise and located on Indonesia’s West Papua province on the eastern part of the country. 

“There is no such ‘Ministry of Immigration’ in Indonesia,” Sampurno said. 

A statement from the Foreign Ministry said the Indonesian government institution in charge of any immigration issue is the Directorate General of Immigration, which is part of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. 

“The Directorate General of Immigration of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia neither recognize nor has relations with Israel Indonesia Agency,” it said.

The statement also said the information in the agency’s website was “wrong and misleading” and that the only way for Israeli passport holders to secure an Indonesian visa was through the “calling visa” process. 

Sampurno said the calling visa mechanism is available for citizens of nations with which Indonesia does not have diplomatic relations. 

The decision to grant a calling visa involves a number of government agencies with the Foreign Ministry at the lead, and the conditions applied to a calling visa holder are very restrictive.

“The visa holder’s whereabouts is limited to a certain place. For example, if the holder stated in the application the place would be in Jakarta, the visa holder can’t go further, even to the suburbs of Jakarta, and the visa holder can only enter Indonesia through Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport,” Sampurno said. 

“There will also be constant monitoring from the authorities to the calling visa holder,” he added.


Trump cancels US delegation trip to Davos over shutdown

Updated 2 min 38 sec ago
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Trump cancels US delegation trip to Davos over shutdown

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled the US delegation’s trip to the annual international conference at Davos, saying the officials were needed in Washington to tackle the shutdown of the federal government.
“Out of consideration for the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay and to ensure his team can assist as needed, President Trump has canceled his Delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,” said a statement from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had been due to head the five-strong delegation that also included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and assistant to the president Chris Liddell.
The decision to scrap the Davos trip came after Trump hit his chief Democratic opponent Nancy Pelosi with a last-minute cancelation of her plan to take an air force plane to Afghanistan, citing the four-week-old shutdown as a motive.
Some 800,000 federal employees and many more government contractors are affected by the partial shutdown, triggered by Trump’s refusal to sign off on funding for a host of departments.
This was in retaliation for the refusal of Democrats, who control the lower house of Congress, to approve his plans for a US-Mexico border wall.
Trump last week canceled his own participation in Davos, also citing the row over his proposed wall.